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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

20 Year Relationships

20th originally uploaded by Marvin (PA)
Today my husband and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. A milestone celebration, and I am - unfortunately - away on business...

Milestones often put things into perspective. They can also lead to musings [particularly when traveling!].

Have you considered what it takes to maintain a longterm relationship - be it in a marriage or a customer relationship?

Here's my list:

Definitely, two willing partners.

An ability to learn from one another and adapt to changes - in circumstances and within one another.

A genuine desire for the best for the other.

Total honesty and total respect.

An ability to laugh together and to emphathize with the other.

Acknowledging responsibility and learning from mistakes.

And a desire to work things out rather than walk away.

Which organizations can you think of that can be proud of the milestones they've achieved with their customers?

Nordstrom comes to my mind given how many people from multiple generations speak with reverence about their relationship with the store. And, I bet that Jack Mitchell's [author of Hug Your Customers and CEO of Mitchells of Westport, Richards of Greenwich and recently Marshs of Long Island [high end clothing retailers] organizations do, too [see A Good Hug Is Worth... and Hugs or Relentless Customer Focus]. I bet they have celebrated many 20 year [or more] relationships with their customers.

How do you go about building milestone relationships with your customers?

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